6 Signs That Disney Is Trying To Take Over The World

Proven fact: About 40 percent of all your happy memories have been brought to you by the Walt Disney Company. With almost a century’s worth of wholesome entertainment, Disney has become one of the most powerful — and more importantly, most beloved — brands in existence. But behind the happy Technicolor facade, the Mouse is cooking up megalomaniac schemes even their own copyrighted supervillains would admire. Between constantly developing invasive technologies, assimilating competitors, and squashing governments like Jiminy Crickets, soon Disney will rule all media with a white-gloved iron fist. The Micktatorship is coming, and it might not be as magical as we’d like.

6

They Won’t Stop Spying On Your Children

As surprising as it is to adults who still wear Minnie Mouse sweaters, Disney’s target market remains to be children. Kids are the most prized commercial demographic of them all, embodying the holy marketing trinity of being impulsive, easily manipulated, and clumsy. That’s why we’ve created additional protections, laws, and regulations that specify that kids can’t receive the same invasive spying us adults are subjected to. But the petty laws of man have no sway over the House of Mouse, which is constantly being accused of illegally and aggressively mining minor’s private information like it’s booger-covered gold.

Disney.wikia.comThe name is cute. Less cute is the fact that they probably know Hannah’s Social Security number, too.

In the past, Disney used illegal internet trackers called “zombie cookies,” so called because they keep following you everywhere, pop back up after being destroyed, and we were collectively bored of them by the early 2010s. It did so through a widget company called Clearspring Technologies, which clearly picked its name based on how good it would sound during Senate hearings. At the request of their clients, Clearspring stalked children’s internet surfing and harvested “viewing habits, gender, age, race, education level, geographic location, sexual preference, what the users like to read, home address, phone number, health condition, and more,” which is enough info to make Disney more on the ball than an uncomfortable percentage of actual parents.

Then, in 2017, Disney itself got sued when it was discovered that 42 of their most popular apps targeted at children were in clear violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), containing malicious trackers which Disney used to sell private info to advertisers. Disney countered by saying they “look forward” to going to court, as “the complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles” — the misunderstanding being that they think Disney gives a fuck about COPPA or principles.

Linda72/PixabayThey dont maintain a pool of voters to not get their way.

But why limit yourself to stalking kids on the internet when technology now allows you to physically track children around like they’re wayward house cats? In 2013, Disney introduced the MyMagic+ band to Disney World Orlando — a colorful microchipped wristband that serves as a visitor’s ticket, room key, and even digital wallet. Not only that, but the bands also allow the visitors to have a much more personalized interaction with the park, as they can recommend rides with short queues, tell Goofy it’s your birthday, and let you know which princesses have the fewest divorced dads circling them. And while children might be blown away by the kind of magic that lets the animatronic seagull from The Little Mermaid address them by name, that’s only because Disney is constantly slurping up all the information that the band collects, mostly without parental permission.

Though the bands were a massive success, Disney has chosen not to expand the trackers to their other resorts, acknowledging that the tech is a bit outdated. Instead, the company is experimenting with smartphone apps, which can achieve everything the tracking band does. And smartphones stay in kid’s pockets long after they’ve left a park. Speaking of which …

5

Their Theme Parks Are Practically Running The Cities Around Them

In order to keep on the right side of the law (but the wrong side of morality), Disney has obtained a lot more political sway than you might expect from a cartoon kingdom. But Disney also has real little kingdoms dotted all over the world: its resorts. And with these fiefdoms come the usual politics, like war, corruption, and the occasional peasant uprising.

The two great hospitality monoliths in the U.S. are a) casinos and b) Disney resorts. And the Mouse despises gambling, as it goes against the Disney values of having adults spend all their money and free time on taking their kids to see Moana for the 17th time. The company won’t even allow casinos on its ships, despite gambling being the most popular cruise pastime besides contracting gonorrhea.

Disney Cruise LineUntil Goofy learns to run a craps table, I want no part of this.

So how does Disney fight this greedy industry of empty pockets and jumbo shrimps? By being the champion of the people, of course. In 2017, Disney spent $650,000 lobbying to change the Florida constitution. If successful, Floridians would have to go vote on whether they approve of any new casinos being built in the state. A victory for democracy, surely, allowing the people to decide how far they want to live from a row of soiled slot stools.

But Disney isn’t interested in getting its locals the rights to vote; it wants to control exactly when, how, and what they can vote on. Only a year prior, Disney was exposed for aggressively lobbying to prevent Floridians from being able to vote on a healthcare measure that would cost the corporation money. And during the 2012 election, the corporation spent $2.5 million on getting right-wing politicians in power, many of whom were anti-casino and all of whom were pro-Disney-tax-cuts. The result? An amazing drop in crime … only around Disney resorts, with a slight increase everywhere else, as cops are busy arresting teens for smoking pot near Space Mountain instead of investigating gun violence. At this point, Disney essentially owns Central Florida like it’s the only steel mill in town. It even boasts being responsible for getting 1 out of every 50 Floridians a job — mostly in local government, it seems.

Florida Development CommissionAnd more importantly, Florida welcomes their money …”

On the other coast, Anaheim, California — locally referred to as “Disneyheim” — suffers from the same overlord issues. Disneyland is nestled inside Anaheim Resort District, its own little perfectly landscaped utopia … paid for mostly by the city itself. Since settling there, Disney has managed to finagle over a billion dollars in tax exemptions, subsidies, and other incentives by bribing city officials — or as they called it after the ’70s, donations and “personal friendships.” That’s a billion dollars Anaheim couldn’t spend on its citizens, who are suffering from a serious crime and homelessness epidemic among those not lucky enough to live in the shadow of the giant mouse ears.

But the times are a-changing. During the 2016 election, the people of Anaheim backed a decidedly anti-Disney council majority, which has already dealt the corporation a few heavy blows, like blocking a $300 million proposal for the city to build a streetcar network which would mostly make it easier to bus tourists to Disneyland. Soon, Disney might have to start actually paying for their own boondoggles. Which reminds us …

4

Disney Will Invest Billions In Things Nobody Cares About

Did you know that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been having terrible ratings? Since its first episode, the weird superhero-adjacent TV show has only been able to hang on to one-sixth of its viewership. So despite a generally well-received fourth season, ABC decided to cancel the money pit. That was a decision Disney, which owns ABC (of course), respectfully disagreed with, forcing the network to keep losing money on its mediocre Marvel property. There isn’t a clear-cut reason Disney would pull rank on a failing TV show. It can’t be the money, because Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t making any. That’s what Star Wars spinoffs are for.

Marvel TelevisionPictured: The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast … probably. Were trusting Google on this one.

But it’s important to remember that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the only Marvel show on terrestrial TV that Disney owns (all the others are Fox’s, and more on that later). Therefore, it’s the only thing keeping the franchise warm for your Netflix-illiterate mom and dad in the 2.5 weeks between new Marvel movies. To that effect, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is less a show than a really expensive advertisement, or a disease vector keeping Marvel Fever’s nerd mortality rate at its peak.

But propping up a dying series for the hell of it is nothing compared to the financial sinkhole that is Pandora — The World Of Avatar. Based on a very profitable movie people forgot existed five minutes after leaving theaters, Disney spent five years and half a billion dollars making a boring blue planet come to life. Of course, this was under the assumption that Avatar would still be relevant today, before James Cameron postponed the sequels by a decade and Disney realized that half of its visitors wouldn’t have been alive yet to be disappointed by the first movie. So the finished product was less an Avatar cash-in and more a generic weird alien jungle. Disney even decided not to include any of the movie’s memorable cast, like Retired Guile, Snagglepuss Smurfette, or Man.

20th Century FoxAt least they didnt try to adapt this into the worlds creepiest FastPass.

When Pandora finally opened in May 2017, early reviews were great, but the novelty is quickly wearing off. Yet despite the public responding with a resounding “meh,” Disney greenlit the construction of two additional attractions and a themed restaurant in the area. Because it doesn’t matter what we think. Pandora Land is happening because Disney wants it to happen. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is staying because Disney wants it to stay. You will think what Disney lets you think. You will go where Disney lets you go. And you will only know the sweet freedom of death when Disney lets you die. Which will happen only after you visit Pandora. Now only $99 for a one-day pass.

3

Disney’s Video Game Division Was A Tornado Of Hubris

While it might seem that Disney can make anything happen (which sounded a lot less ominous a few paragraphs ago), it does have one white whale it’s failed to spear: video games. After years of letting others profit from its licenses, in 2007, Disney finally decided to cut out the middleman and start up its own game company. To that end, it started snatching up developers like they were part of a Steam sale, expecting to simply ride into the industry on a wave of talent and money. There was only one issue: Disney don’t game.

Virgin Interactive EntertainmentAs anyone who broke a controller over their video games can angrily attest.

When it comes to generating massive profits from movies, TV, theme parks, or toys, Disney has turned itself into such a fine-tuned predictor that it might as well be staffed by precogs. But they didn’t have the same auto-success formula when it came to video games, which meant they would have to take a few risks — a word that hadn’t been uttered at Disney since they recklessly decided to start making movies in color. To make things even more complicated for their developers, they mixed their hesitation with their tradition of being difficult to please, disregarding the fact that they were now just jerking themselves off and couldn’t settle on which hand to use.

As a result, Disney had set their new branch up to fail. They bought gaming studios known for making innovation-heavy indie darlings and had them make family friendly puzzlers, then switch mid-development to mobile games, then to free-to-play, stopping short of telling them to develop new IPs for the burgeoning cup-and-ball platform.

Square EnixSpoilers for the next Kingdom Hearts game.

After a string of flops and even more cancellations, Disney did the only natural thing a company with billions in profits, a talented group of developers, and all the time in the world to get it right can do: They shut it all down. By 2016, Disney had sunk all the companies it had bought. It even shuttered LucasArts, firing everyone and just keeping the name (because it meant something before Disney got its hands on it). It went back to selling its licenses to real game companies, so they at least stand a chance of making a decent game and the corporation can go back to bossing them around without any risk.

Which brings us to our next scheme …

2

Disney Is Using Star Wars To Extort The Media

Were you looking forward to The Last Jedi? Did you book the tickets months in advance? Did you flood your Facebook feed with Finn/Poe ship memes? Are you going to see it twice? Thrice? You’re in the theater right now, aren’t you? Well, good news! Disney noticed your love and devotion to Star Wars, and decided to use it to bully movie theaters and journalists into doing their bidding. Who ever said fandom doesn’t have power?

Because of Star Wars‘ unparalleled popularity and rabid fandom, Disney realized it could get the most out of its franchise by holding it ransom. For the privilege of screening The Last Jedi, Disney handed movie theaters a strict list of demands as if it was waiting for the pizzas and helicopter to arrive. Among the most stringent were its demand that every theater fork over 65 percent of its ticket profits to Disney, the biggest cut theaters have ever seen. Venues also had to promise to show the movie for four weeks without interruption, or else be fined another 5 percent in “Pay us, we’re Disney” tax.

LucasfilmAt least they backed off the demands for themed soda fountains.

While a four-week mandate and a mobster-level taste of the action doesn’t deter anyplace with a couple of IMAX screens and backroom full of lightsaber-colored M&Ms to shill (they’re nothing but regular M&Ms with the brown ones picked out), such demands are ruinous for small-town theaters that only have a single screen. Many of them had no choice but to not screen The Last Jedi, as it would have to count on everyone and their cattle seeing the movie several times in a row to turn a profit. So if you had to leave your moisture farm and travel several parsecs to get some porg action, you know who to blame.

But movie theaters aren’t the only ones suffering from the tyrannical yoke of the Empire’s distributors. Disney also tried to use Star Wars to quiet dissent among the rabble-rousers, i.e. journalists. Remember Disney’s shady dealings with the city of Anaheim from two bathroom breaks ago? It was The LA Times that broke that story, running a whole series exposing Disney’s corruption. As a response, Disney decided to punish the paper by banning its reviewers from attending screenings of The Last Jedi. When confronted about this, Disney reps simply stated that they would not play nice with a paper which “showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards,” specifically the part that warns that snitches get stitches.

LucasfilmAnd you do not want to get shanked with one of these.

It took almost the whole of film journalism to temporarily grow a backbone and refuse to review the movie for Disney to back down from its petty tyranny. Because at this point, nothing less than a whole industry can still stand up against the Mouse. And Disney has found a way to fix that, too.

1

Disney Can’t Stop Buying Up Other Companies

Like bossy kindergartners wearing princess dresses, Disney tries to control everything: the press, entire cities, even our children. But that is nothing compared to the zeal with which the corporation is taking over all of the entertainment industry. In the last decade, Disney has already vacuumed up Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, creating a near monopoly on the concept of arrested development. And they might soon own that show too, as Disney is laying siege to its last remaining rival titan of pop culture: 21st Century Fox. Since 2017, Disney and Fox have engaged in on-again, off-again talks about one evil monolith being taken over the other evil monolith’s TV and movie departments, leaving Fox with only its two greatest tentpoles: sports bloopers and fearmongering.

Pixar… And with Pixar, theyve got a pretty strong foothold in that, too.

By absorbing Fox, Disney would obtain the last piece of a puzzle that looks like Goofy throwing a guy wearing a Wolverine shirt over a barrel, as 21st Century Fox owns literally every scrap of Marvel (X-Men and Fantastic Four) and Star Wars (A New Hope) that Disney hasn’t devoured already. Also, did we mention Fox owns Avatar and its upcoming sequels? We’re running seriously low on red string and thumbtacks over here.

ESPNAt least they dont control sports yet (except yes, of course they do).

While owning all of Marvel and Star Wars would do wonders for Bob Iger’s OCD, Fox has something a lot more valuable which Disney wants: TV shows. Buying Fox means getting their gloves on the entire back catalog of The Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, and more. With Fox and Pixar in its pocket, Disney would basically own most of Western animation, leaving anti-Disney people with few things to binge on besides South Park and old anime — otherwise known as a 4chan Friday night.

Studio GhibliExcept not all anime, because guess who distributes the good stuff.

And so we finally arrive at Disney’s next big step in entertainment world domination: streaming. As a business model, streaming relies on “nostalgia programming,” which is coincidentally also the term for how Disney brainwashed us into giving a crap about The Lion King, even though we haven’t seen the movie in 25 years. By 2019, Disney will have removed all of its content from Netflix so it can start its own streaming service. And between its half-dozen geek movie franchises, Fox’s TV shows, and its own century’s worth of content, it will without a doubt blow all the competition out of the water.

But this isn’t the only way Disney intends to burrow itself into the digital age. For years now, the corporation has been quietly dominating the under-12s internet with what is now called the Disney Digital Network, a string of Disney-only blogs that look like if China’s propaganda arm was run by BuzzFeed. Now it’s ready to go after the real internet prize: YouTube commenters. In 2014, it bought Maker Studios, which hosted a network of over 60,000 YouTube channels, including massively popular ones like Epic Rap Battles Of History. Disney then gutted and absorbed the studio into its new network, assimilating its 1,000 most worshiped streamers into the Disney brand, luring their massive Gen Z viewership to the Disney side of the internet like some weird reverse pedophile ring.

Which, if you’re keeping count, only leaves social media, surely a platform too chaotic and under-performing for Disney to bother with, right? Wrong. Disney has already shown a great interest in acquiring Twitter, the favorite social media app of comedians and Nazis. And the app has been struggling for a while now, and will most likely be sold off to the highest bidder. Which will be Disney. It will always be Disney. It’s only a matter of time before every moment you goof off at work, every minute you sit on the toilet scrolling through your phone, every weekend you waste binging on a show you’ve seen a million times before, you’ll get it in the face by the squiggly D.

There is no escape.

Cedric Voets really wished he’d gone on the teacup ride one last time before writing this article. You can find more of his commie ravings on Twitter.

We know you want a pair of those darn Mouse ears. Here’s a 12-pack.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25410_6-signs-that-disney-trying-to-take-over-world.html

6 Popular Workouts That Are A Waste Of Time And Money

It’s 2018, which means there’s a gluten-free section on every brunch menu and a boutique fitness studio on every other block. Then again, our two main talking points these days are Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy and Oprah Winfrey’s presidency. So like, what a time to be alive. But back to the workout thing, there are actually so many fitness classes you can take, and each one tells you they’ll help you burn calories, get toned, look good, etc. Some of these classes need to be called out on their bullshit, and we’re here to do just that. Here are some workouts that are wasting your time and money.

1. Aerial Yoga

Also known as Anti-Gravity yoga, aerial yoga is a popular choice among 22-year-old girls who want to do something active on a Saturday to get a cute Instagram and make themselves feel better about the liter of tequila they’ll be drinking later. If you’ve never heard of this type of workout, picture Cirque Du Soleil meets Lululemon for $38 per session. The idea is to do traditional yoga poses on a cotton hammock hanging from the ceiling. It sounds pretty bizarre, and that’s because it is. We’re not saying this is a total scam, but unless you’re an experienced yogi with a ton of balance and a legit certification, you’re prob not getting anything out of this class. Like, by the time you finally get the hang of it, the class is over and you didn’t get any of the poses right, so you’re wasting your time. If you want a more legit workout, skip the anti-gravity bullshit and go do regular yoga.

2. Aqua Cycling

Aqua cycling is another one of those fads that draw in a group of girls who “don’t looove spinning, but would def try it in a pool for the experience.” Honestly, find yourself a different experience. Peddling your legs on a bike underwater will obviously give you a workout, but the burn you feel is more intense than the calories you’re actually burning. Like, there’s a reason people don’t run marathons in swimming pools. Because of the laws of physics it’s clearly harder for your body to move in water, but that doesn’t mean your heart rate is any higher than it would be on land. In fact, you’re moving a lot slower, so the calorie burn doesn’t even compare. Plus, let’s not even get started on the amount of germs in that pool. Do you know how many people already sweat in that water before your 7pm class? Pass.

3. The Spin Class Arms Segment 

This isn’t a workout class itself, but it’s a v controversial part of every spin class, so it’s time to address it. If you’ve ever taken a cycling class, you may have noticed that about two thirds of the way through the class, the instructor tells you to peddle slower while you take out two one-pound weights and do a few shoulder raises and arm circles. During this time, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “This fucking hurts! I never knew 90 seconds of one-pound weights could actually tone my arms!” That’s because it won’t. Simply put, this arm segment is bullshit, and it’s not doing anything for you. While your arms are burning from the pulsing exercises and you may be sore tomorrow, a short interval of light weights isn’t actually doing much for your arms, and it only feels that hard because your body is already so exhausted from the intense spinning you’ve been doing. But it  fuck up your back pretty easily, so it has that going for it. You’re better off skipping this part and doing a legit arm workout at the gym another day. Sorry.

4. Barre

People might kill us for this, but we’re calling bullshit on most barre classes’ claims. We’re not saying that barre isn’t a good workout at all, but it’s definitely not doing what you think it’s doing. Barre studios promise to create “long, lean muscles” and make your body “toned but not bulky.” If you know anything about the mechanics of the human body, phrases like these are literally nails on a chalkboard. Whether you’re using heavy weights or resistance bands with pulsing movements, your muscles can only do three things: get bigger, get smaller, or stay the same—you can’t make them “longer” or “leaner.” The low-weight, high-volume movements in a barre class can definitely help you get stronger over time, but all the marketing about getting small, pretty muscles is just scientifically impossible. Ballerinas may look that way because of their genetics and restrictive diets, but the barre isn’t giving you that look if you weren’t born with it. Sorry if you already spent $18 on the socks.

5. The Cardio Class At Your Local Gym

I know regular gyms offer classes and not all of them are horrible, but chances are, if you’re attending a class called “Cardio Blast” taught by a 63-year-old woman named Gladys, it’s probably not that intense. If you’re attending cardio classes at your gym that make you dance around, squat in place, and do a few step ups, you could probably be spending your time more wisely and burning more calories. Any workout is better than no workout, but if you think this is really more effective than doing HIIT on the treadmill or the rower, or taking a bootcamp-style HIIT class, you should reconsider. I mean, a couple Equinox classes with celebrity trainers may be the exception, but the rest are probably not worth it. If you need to find a partner halfway through class to hold their feet down while they do a few crunches, look elsewhere.

6. Pole Dancing “Fitness”

I think somebody made a joke one time about pole dancing being a sport and someone took it too seriously. In case you’ve never heard of this sad phenomenon, people are literally signing up for pole dancing classes thinking they’re getting a legit workout. There are so many problems with this, and I’m not even sure which to point out first. Let’s ignore the moral, ethical, and political issues for now and stick with the actual workout. I’ve never taken this class myself, but I can only imagine the workout you’re getting by soberly spinning around a pole and doing a few booty pops is sub-par, at best. Consider that strippers and burlesque dancers might be good at their jobs because they’re strong, not the other way around. Unless you’re Kate Upton, working out isn’t supposed to be sexy, so please save yourself the time and skip this class. And don’t follow the instructors on Instagram either.

 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/popular-workout-classes-that-dont-work

5 Boneheaded Conspiracy Theories You Had No Clue Existed

When you ask people what their favorite conspiracy theories are, it’s always the same old songs — the moon landing was fake, the British monarchy are all lizards, Tom Cruise is actually two small border collies in a tall coat, etc. People love tuning out the classics, but what about all the new conspiracies? Here’s a hipster’s guide to the indie darlings that are making their way onto the tinfoil hat scene right now. This is your chance to catch these up-and-comers before they start popping up on pieces of cardboard near you.

5

Anti-Vaxxers … For Pets

Of all the conspiracy nutjobs, anti-vaxxers are the most dangerous. Sure, Holocaust deniers and 9/11 truthers rant and rave like their skulls got infested by an ant colony that has figured out the tastiest parts of the brain are the ones that govern logic, reason, and how to speak at a normal volume, but words are all they have. Anti-vaccination advocates, however, are often parents who consciously put children in danger, all to prove that they’re smarter than nine out of ten doctors. But what about anti-vaxxers who don’t have children? How can they inflict their irresponsible delusions of superiority on someone too small and stupid to defend themselves?

They get a pet.

March Against Monsanto/Facebook“Have you ever noticed that vaccinated dogs never develop verbal skills? Exactly.”

As long as some pet owners treat their domesticated beasts like the children they should never have, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that human medical trends have a tendency to spill over to the world of veterinary medicine. The anti-vaccination panic is no exception. Over the last few years, some vets started noticing an increase in pet owners refusing to inoculate their puppies and kittens against serious illnesses. Dog owners in particular are being overprotective, believing that vaccinating their precious pooches could cause them to develop arthritis, epilepsy, cancer, and even autism. A creature that gladly shits on the floor having a hard time picking up on social cues? How do you even diagnose that?

One of such prominent dogshit spreaders is Catherine O’Driscoll, founder of the Canadian Canine Health Concern nonsense foundation. O’Driscoll keeps an extensive blog in the hopes of convincing other pet owners to let their dogs experience “natural canine healthcare” — which is just Darwinism. She believes firmly that because of wanton injections, her “dogs are becoming allergic to life,” but we’re sure Catherine has that effect on people as well. How else could she explain how her dogs were all dying before their time? Definitely has nothing to do with the fact that her Labrador purebreds are riddled with genetic defects like they’re incestuous Spanish nobles from the 17th century. No, it must be all that medicine that’s making them sick.

Christine O’Driscoll“We don’t tell you that stuff because it’s stupid and wrong.” – vets

But the people most drawn to the anti-pet-vaxxing lifestyle aren’t who you’d expect. “It’s actually much more common in the hipster-y areas,” notes one Brooklyn veterinarian. Hipsters, who use the word “organic” like it’s a verb, have started extended this au naturel mentality to their dogs and cats. After all, if they refuse to let their artisanal kale be chemically altered, why would they let a needle get anywhere near their beloved Allen Ginsbark? It’s always better to let nature take its course. That way, they can get into the next pet epidemic way before anyone else does.

4

There’s A Slave Colony On Mars

Whatever happened to the good old days of space conspiracies? The days when we thought that Neil Armstrong was an actor, the government had a few UFOs in a basement somewhere, and the worst thing an all-powerful alien species would do was poke at our butts for treasure. Gee whiz, moon madness sure seemed a lot more innocent back then, huh? Not like today, when it’s all space vampires this and child slave colonies that. Times, they are a-changing.

In June 2017, during on one of Infowars’ nationwide broadcasts, Alex Jones, ringmaster to the criminally insane, was joined by the esteemed Robert David Steele. Steele is a former CIA operative, Marine Corps major, and proof you can get far in U.S. government with a winning smile and only half a brain. He was there to discuss some pretty standard Infowars fare — how most child molesters are in fact cannibals who scare children in order to adrenalize their blood so that they can suck their bone marrow in order to stay eternally young. Then the conversation took a weird turn.

Out of nowhere (which is how Steele and Jones form most of their thoughts), Steele went on a tangent about NASA’s slave camp on the Mars colony. Hmmm? You didn’t know there was a colony on Mars, let alone that it’s populated by slaves? Get with the program, liberal. According to Steele, who was once licensed to kill people by the government, NASA has been categorically kidnapping children for decades, gathering them up and shipping them off to Mars. Then, after a 20-year trip, these astro-Gollums are used as slave labor to build NASA’s hidden Mars colony. That’s a lot to process, but let’s not lose sight of the most important question: Why does it take 20 years for those kids to get to Mars? Did their Challenger break down, and did they have to take a replacement bus service to the Tharsis plateau? That’s somehow a weirder lie than the slave colony.

NASA/JSCFrom the upcoming drama Seven Light Years A Slave

Of course, Steele doesn’t furnish the audience with any real information, but that’s not what’s important. Steele didn’t come on Inforwars to make people believe in vampiric molesters or Spartacus on Mars; he’s there to make Alex Jones look good. After his crazed rant, Jones, having gotten his jumping-off point, immediately starts talking about how “top NASA engineers” have indeed told him that 90 percent of all NASA missions are kept hidden from the public. Like the lunatic bear that he is, Jones often invites crazy guests to serve to induce some type of Goldilocks effect on his base of conspiracy theorists (i.e. losers too atheist to blame their shitty lives on gay people).

Hearing someone call NASA a bunch of covert ops Deep State agents working on a secret agenda sounds utterly insane … unless you’ve just heard some nutjob talk about them being a bunch of seersucker-suited slave masters building a new world on Mars by turning molested children into space Oompa Loompas. Then it’s downright reasonable by comparison.

3

The National Parks Service Is Covering Up Disappearances

Sometimes people disappear in the woods. That’s not surprising. There are plenty of hidden alcoves, lake beds, and animal stomachs for the lost or hurt to disappear into. What might be more surprising, however, is the sheer number of people who wander into national parks, never to be seen again. Since records began, over 1,600 people have gone missing on public land, and no one seems to be paying attention. That’s why a retired cop is going on a one-man crusade to raise awareness — not of the dangers of hiking, but of how rangers are refusing to tell us how many of those missing people were kidnapped by fairies.

David Paulides is an former police detective who moved to Colorado for two reasons: skiing and Sasquatches. After his time on the force, he became an avid Bigfoot hunter, founding the North America Bigfoot Search. But his life changed when Paulides (according to Paulides) was approached by two park rangers who asked him to look into their agency covering up strange disappearances. Why they came to a guy who had spent years tracking something he never found, we won’t know, but what followed was a tale of general incompetency, so that might have something to do with it.

David PaulidesPaulides, in what strangely looks exactly like the type of photo someone would take before they would disappear without a trace.

In 2011, Paulides started the CanAm Missing Project, his goal being to figure out the possibly occult cause of all these mysterious disappearances. What qualifies a missing person’s case to be labelled “mysterious”? Just about anything.

For example, when writing about two women disappearing near the same river, he noted that “both of their names start with A, and their first names only had three letters,” as if the river was only trying to sweep away people with low Scrabble values. He also remarks that “that berries and berry bushes play a common role in many disappearances” which he finds “quite intriguing,” as if park rangers aren’t the only people in the world who like that their phones autocorrect “Wanna get some beers?” to “Wanna see some berries?”

He also has a map pinpointing 59 wildlife areas where all these disappearances occur. There are 59 federal parks in the United States. Coincidence? Conspiracy? Did he simply make his own map of all the parks?

David PaulidesThat’s for the feds to decide.

But for all his foibles, we should be commending Paulides. He isn’t like other conspiracy theorists, in that he does vastly more good than harm. His CanAm Missing Project and his Missing 411 books, while delusional, have grown to be the most comprehensive collection of data on missing people in national parks in existence. Paulides isn’t exactly making anything up, either. “I don’t put any theories in the books — I just connect facts,” he says. And his facts can’t help but involve teleporting and magical murder berries. At his worst, he’s a Deep Throat looking for the Woodward and Bernstein of exposing centaurs. At his best, he’s exactly the kooky conspiracy theorist the National Park Service deserves: well-meaning, a bit bland, and obsessed with berries.

2

Hurricane Irma Was A Liberal Hoax

Hurricane Irma was one of the worst calamities to ever hit the Caribbean and Florida Keys. In Florida alone, it did millions of dollars of damage, destroyed tens of thousands of jobs, and caused the deaths of 75 people and counting (with thousands still at risk).

And if you believe that, the liberals have some Benghazi emails they’d like to sell you.

As Hurricane Irma neared the East Coast, a horrific encore to the tragedy that was Hurricane Harvey only weeks prior, the media offered dire predictions for the devastation to come.

But some people were getting tired of the MSM pushing its hurricane fearmongering. One of these skeptics was Rush Limbaugh, a man named after the way air moves between his ears and the best possible afterlife he could hope for. From his home in Palm Springs, Florida, the right-wing radio personality could feel a liberal conspiracy brewing.

To be clear, Limbaugh isn’t a hurricane denier; he just doesn’t think they’re a big deal. On his show, he proclaimed, “there is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic.” And if there’s anyone who’s an expert on creating fear and panic to further a political agenda, it’s Rush.

To Limbaugh, it all sounds too convenient. A violent meteorological demon that thrives on the constantly warming ocean water like it’s a Monster energy drink and then lays waste to our industrial zones? That’s obviously some hoax dreamed up by what he calls the “official meteorological circles,” like he’s referring to a sinister cabal of druids which secretly controls the Weather Channel. Why else, he illogicked, does the media always scare people by saying each and every hurricane will hit a major city center? That’s not balanced and honest reporting! Where’s the 24-hour news cycle dedicated to the ones that merely swirl around on the ocean for a few days and slightly inconvenience some gulls? Typical media bias. Gull Lives Matter, too.

But then, to his great surprise, the liberal hoax caught up to him. As Irma started to lay waste to Southern Florida, Limbaugh was seen fleeing his home with nothing but the clothes on his back and his words to eat, desperately searching for the one Marriott in Northern Florida that doesn’t have his picture behind the front desk. So in the end, Limbaugh did not convince us to stop believing in storms, but he did bolster our belief in silver linings.

1

300 Years Of History Never Happened

This story begins where all wild stories begin: during a German archaeological conference. In 1986, a large collection of historians gathered in Munich to discuss how pissed off they were getting at Medieval con artists making their jobs harder. Medieval experts, unlike their peers, have to deal with a lot of fake news. Scholars and clergymen of the Dark Ages had this tendency to forge the hell out of documents, writing any old nonsense to further their own agendas. When you’re one of 20 people in your country who can read and write, you don’t really have to worry about peer review.

But some of these forgeries shared something remarkable: They were seemingly written centuries before the events they detail. This blew one mind in particular: Heribert Illig, who jumped to quite a shocking conclusion. You see, instead of these documents being badly dated or made to look older to raise their authenticity, the answer was much simpler: The past didn’t exist.

The foundation of Illig’s “phantom time hypothesis,” which denies that the period between 614 and 911 CE ever happened, lies in the fact that the Dark Ages were really, really boring. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe went through a bit of a burnout / mild apocalypse, so most dark agers didn’t get around to doing much else besides trying to survive to the ripe old age of 17. Then Illig discovered that when the Catholic Church decided to switch from the wildly inaccurate Julian Calendar (which was off by about one day per century) to the Gregorian, they only added 10 days instead of 13, revealing they knew there were three centuries fewer than what everyone else was told. Of course, Illig was dead wrong, but you can’t let something like a bit of bad math stand between you and claiming that a dozen generations of our ancestors never existed.

But with that realization, the real conspiracy theory kicked in. Surely, adding three extra centuries isn’t some accidental fuck-up made by some faulty monk copiers. This was the work of powerful and holy people — someone like Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. Otto, according to Illig’s new math, was a 7th century emperor who really wanted to rule in the year 1000, because he wanted to be easily remembered by German fifth-graders. So Otto and Pope Sylvester II set out to create three centuries of fake past to plug the gap. Then they went about filling this newly created 291 years with a bunch of worthless duds of kings, except that Otto got a bit carried away with his fanfiction and created Charlemagne, the Mary Sue of Medieval rulers.

Albrecht Durer“… and his sword was magic and could totally cut Superman, and he …” — Otto

There’s only one teeny tiny problem with Illinger’s hypothesis: It forgets that there’s an entire universe outside of European history. If the Dark Ages didn’t happen, then neither did the birth and dissemination of Islam in the Middle East, or the well-documented feudal renaissance of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. And even if you could believe that Otto toured the world convincing foreign leaders he didn’t know existed to get in on his epic prank, exact sciences like carbon dating, tracking astrological phenomena, or even counting tree rings like an Eagle Scout prove we’re right on schedule.

Yet despite the myriad of logical and fact-based arguments made against the phantom timeline, the idea won’t die. But we don’t have to explain to you why, right? Can’t you feel it? Doesn’t part of you want to believe that we set our civilizations’ alarm clocks three centuries too early? Takes the pressure off, doesn’t it, pretending to be living in 1720? We could all coast for the rest of our lives, knowing that we did amazing just by saying no to slavery and not dying of polio.

C’mon, it’s nice and warm here off the deep end.

Cedric would feel a lot better if hyper-intelligent lizards secretly ruled the world. You can follow him on Twitter, or directly contact him by tuning in to the frequency of his tooth fillings.

If you’re getting the feeling that you need to start living in paranoia, well, luckily you don’t have to worry about making your own tinfoil hat. You can just order one.

If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page, please and thank you.

For more, check out What Stupid Conspiracy Theory Is Out There Now? (12/3/17) and Katie, Jedi, And Other Conspiracy Theories Making The Rounds.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25406_5-boneheaded-conspiracy-theories-you-had-no-clue-existed.html

5 Huge Celebrity Scandals The Entire Planet Got Wrong

The media has the amazing ability to shed light on terrible situations and stand by victims when no one else will. That or, you know, just point and laugh at them. Usually, the rest of us are too busy laughing along to notice this is happening, but if you look back, it’s painfully obvious. Here are five times the media came across someone who clearly needed help and said, “Yeah, but wouldn’t it be more helpful if we mocked the shit out of them?”

5

We Were All Obsessed With Diagnosing Charlie Sheen’s Exact Mental Illness (For Some Reason)

Back in 2011, people, websites, and media outlets of all political inclinations united for what seemed like a worthy cause at the time: making fun of Charlie Sheen. It got to the point where some lowly dick joke sites had to specifically ask their writers to avoid “Charlie Sheen is insane” zingers — it was far too easy. It all started when Sheen was canned from Two And A Half Men due to his erratic behavior, which led to a series of high-profile interviews wherein he attempted to explain that he was totally clean and sane. They, uh, didn’t go that way.

Hell, there’s still a weird corner of YouTube solely devoted to “Worst of Charlie Sheen” compilations. This auto-tuned one has over 60 million views:

One particularly notable line from Sheen’s interview with ABC News’ Andrea Canning (which is also highlighted heavily in the memes and songs) involved his mental state. Canning suggests that perhaps Sheen is bipolar, to which the star of Hot Shots! Part Deux replies that he’s simply “bi-winning.” And that’s where this starts to fall apart.

See, there’s a bad habit in the media to try to get mental health professionals to “diagnose” a famous person they’ve never met, which is very much against that field’s entire code of ethics. In a stunning display of sticking to their guns, psychiatrists are even refusing to diagnose President Trump from afar. So why was the media so hellbent on getting a diagnosis on the guy from some crappy sitcom? Time got specialists to analyze his speech to determine whether he was crazy or merely a drug addict. To this day, Dr. Drew is remarkably hung up on Sheen:

GoogleYou’d think someone with two “Dr”s in his name would know better.

The media made it clear that figuring out what was wrong with Sheen was way more important than encouraging him to get help, which is a very different thing. Sheen admitted to Canning that he had no idea what bipolar disorder even meant, and Canning didn’t seem terribly informed herself (for future reference, it’s more complicated than being “on two ends of a spectrum,” as she put it). So after that whole kerfuffle, what did Sheen do? He organized a bipolar disorder awareness walk in Toronto, with funds going to a Canadian support group. Canning, meanwhile, only walked away as part of a meme.

4

Vanessa Hudgens Had To Apologize For Someone Else Leaking Her Nude Photos

When you’re a Disney child star, you’re expected to be a lot more than some kid who acts in movies and TV shows. You’re supposed to be a wholesome young chap or chapette who represents the family friendly values of the company, but also cool and desirable enough to decorate the walls of millions of horned-up teenagers. The perfect Disney star is equal parts sexy and virginal. And most importantly, they should never, ever be naked.

This is what made it such a big scandal in 2007 when someone leaked nude photos of High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, who was 18 at the time. This was almost certainly a case of revenge porn, which is a crime most states prosecute today. But back in 2007? The media backlash centered not on the asswipe who did this, but on Hudgens herself, who had to issue an apology for … having nipples? Not being a vampire and showing up in photos?

At least Disney proved they had her back when they released a statement saying: “We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.”

Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesAnd yet this degenerate is allowed to parade in public without pants.

It’s also kind of important to note the timeframe in which this happened. In 2007, as you surely remember, we were somewhere in the middle of the second season of Hannah Montana. Miley Cyrus had yet to smoke her first bowl and take a steaming dump all over everything Disney held dear. Lindsay Lohan was two years removed from Herbie: Fully Loaded, and her own problems were only getting started. The pressure on Hudgens was pretty bad, and all those indignant articles describing “saucy snapshots” which showed her in non-“ladylike” positions didn’t help.

Even stupider is that even when trying to “defend” her, the media still can’t help but crack a joke. Here’s HuffPo in 2013, six years later:

HuffPostNeither is reading HuffPo.

3

Nobody Took Chelsea Manning’s Transition Seriously

The existence of transgender people has historically been a source of headaches and inconvenience for the media. “What pronouns do we use? Do we refer to them by the gender they were assigned at birth or how they identify? Do we treat them as people, or as monsters to be derided and mocked? It’s all so complicated!”

So when Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010, and later reports came out that she was transitioning, the media was confused, to say the least. Thing is, they shouldn’t have been. Manning explicitly said that her name was Chelsea and that she wanted to be referenced using female pronouns. It’s that easy. Nevertheless, practically every major newsroom in the country used masculine pronouns during much of the initial reporting — including outlets that already had rules about respecting transgender people’s wishes, like The New York Times and the Associated Press. Meanwhile, The Washington Post, in an impressive effort to avoid getting angry letters from any side, avoided pronouns altogether throughout an entire article.

On an even more stupid level, the terrible reporting was followed by articles about the terrible reporting which managed to be quite terrible themselves. Look at this stupid-ass headline:

TimeAnd whoever wrote this didn’t struggle enough.

There was a reason for disregarding Manning’s wishes other than ignorance or bigotry: money. Or at least clicks. Essentially, it came down to using key phrases in reporting — “Bradley Manning” was a household name, but Chelsea Manning was brand-new. Some grumpy news reader looking at CNN.com would have clicked on a new report about “Bradley,” but looked at the same story about “Chelsea” and not known who the hell that was, thereby not clicking. And if they don’t click, they won’t share the article via an all-caps Facebook post, and then where would we be?

2

Monica Lewinsky Was As Vilified As Bill Clinton, Despite The Obvious Power Imbalance

Under most circumstances, going from being a fresh-faced intern to the biggest name in politics within a few years would be a good thing. For Monica Lewinsky, unfortunately, it meant that her name became synonymous with a sex act that no one else had apparently performed before or since.

As soon as the media learned of Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton, everybody across the political spectrum mocked her fairly harshly. Lewinsky jokes became a whole genre of comedy, especially for late-night talk show hosts like David Letterman.

CBS Television Studios

Even into the Bush presidency, Letterman still found time to make fun of Lewinsky. But why exactly did the American media think it was a good idea to rail on this young woman? Don’t get us wrong, making fun of Bill Clinton is totally fair, even necessary. He was the most powerful man in the world when the scandal happened, while Lewinsky was a 23-year-old intern who was barely out of college. Our military carries out orders from the president that they probably don’t agree with on a daily basis; do you think a young intern is going to have the fortitude to say “Sorry, just brushed my teeth” to the president of the United States? Him even asking for sexual favors was an abuse of power, but practically nobody covered the story that way.

After the scandal, Lewinsky was criticized for using her new celebrity status to make money, but she didn’t really have much of a choice there. Her career was ruined; people don’t generally get into politics in the hopes of one day selling a line of handbags. As much as she wanted to stay out of the spotlight, she’d been slapped with so many legal fees that she had to keep accepting every ridiculous offer that came her way. It was also really not cool that there were people seriously having discussions over whether or not Lewinsky references were “fair game” in the 2016 election. Everyone from Rosario Dawson to some rando Republican strategist in Florida had some kind of opinion on whether or not it was OK to drag Lewinsky’s name through the mud nearly 20 years after the fact when, again, it was not even Bill running for president.

1

The Media Pointed And Laughed At Britney Spears’ Mental Breakdown (And She’s Still Being Treated Poorly)

Man, 2007 was not a good time for anyone’s mental health. You may remember some of these headlines from your grocery store checkout lanes that year:

New York Daily News, New York Post, StarOh, but when Larry David gets the same hairdo, no one cares.

To recap, in 2007, Britney Spears was only 25 years old and on top of the goddamned world — or so we thought. After checking out of rehab, she decided that her hair extensions were too tight and asked her stylist to chop it all off. When the salon owner tried to talk her out of it, she grabbed some clippers and did the job herself. And because Spears was the type of celebrity who had paparazzi who would follow her off a bridge, the whole incident was caught on camera.

What did all of us do? We laughed. MTV, which could probably afford to serve caviar at the cafeteria thanks to her videos, let a clearly unprepared Spears lip-sync her way through an awkward, widely mocked VMAs performance. For a while there, “Britney Spears” replaced “Michael Jackson” as the punchline for every music industry joke. And inexplicably, the lone voice of reason in this whole debacle was a freaking viral video.

Vlogger Chris Crocker, better known as the “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” guy, was genuinely worried about Spears’ health and how everyone in the media was treating her when he recorded that video. His own mom had been struggling with some issues at the same time, and he was truly upset with the way people casually dismissed the mental health of women he looked up to in his life. So naturally, we started mocking the shit out of him, too.

Spears was eventually able to get some of the help she needed, but at the cost of having to put all of her money and future earnings into a “conservatorship” held by her father and an attorney. That’s the kind of thing you only do when grandma starts trying to deposit her cash in the microwave. Today, you could say that Spears has recovered reasonably well, what with her hit Las Vegas residency and critically acclaimed latest album … but she’s still not allowed to handle her own finances. Crocker needs to make a new video called “Let Britney Have A Debit Card.”

Isaac’s life is falling apart, but only on the inside. Follow him on Twitter anyway.

Charlie Sheen got really into “winning” in that whole period, and he put together his Winning Recipes cookbook after it.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25225_5-huge-celebrity-scandals-entire-planet-got-wrong.html

5 Ways Life Changes When You Suffer Depression As A Child

Can you imagine anything sadder than a clinically depressed eight-year-old? Just sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of Cheerios, watching Power Rangers before school, but unable to lift the spoon because he feels like he has a swirling black vortex in his chest sucking away all joy? Well, that was me.

Only 2 percent of children suffer from depression. Not only was I one of them, but I was also unlucky enough to get a side dish of intense childhood anxiety, which resulted in a series of panic attacks that often made it feel like the world was collapsing in around me and only me. I’m better now, but there is much to be learned from my awful, awful experience.

5

For A Kid, There’s No Frame Of Reference

A depressed adult at least knows what they’re going through. You’ve spent your entire life hearing about depression or knowing people who have it (even if they’re fictional characters; modern comedy is almost entirely about depression). You’ve seen commercials for antidepressants. Kids don’t have any of that — or at least I didn’t at the time. Muppet Babies and Batman: The Animated Series didn’t take the time to explain how sometimes you’re going to wake up feeling like you’d rather not exist and you won’t know why.

A lot of people suffering depression walk around looking at happy people and wondering how they do it. Now imagine you’re a child who’s looking at everyone else frolicking on the playground, wondering why they don’t want to break down in tears and sleep all day. “Very sad” was as much as my limited vocabulary and frame of reference gave me.

For as confused as I was, the adults around me were even more baffled. My mother and teachers didn’t know whether I was suffering through a traumatic emotional experience (this all occurred after my parents went through a messy divorce), or if I just had overactive tear ducts that exploded every now and then. No one knew what to do with me, so I was treated like any other crying third-grader — either told to shut up or offered a shoulder to cry on that did nothing but give me a golden opportunity to smear snot all over someone’s shirt. For teachers, a problem they couldn’t yell at or tell to go to the principal’s office was a problem they couldn’t solve.

4

I Got Really Good At Hiding My Emotions

Sometimes childhood depression counterintuitively comes bundled with a ton of energy. It’s a sugar rush fueled by ennui. I was just as excessively irritable and prone to temper tantrums as I was to fits of profound sadness and endless streams of tears. As such, my fight-or-flight instincts were always on high alert. I was constantly on the lookout for the next thing that was going to hurt me, which eventually led to a series of panic attacks.

I remember that one day, we were sitting through a presentation in the cafeteria/auditorium when the entire student body broke out into a loud applause. The cacophonous hooting and hollering created a wave of sound that crushed me beneath it. I covered my ears and ducked my head. I went as fetal as I could while maintaining as much of my cool as possible. In what I still consider to be one of the greatest achievements of my life, I somehow managed to have a complete breakdown in the middle of a large crowd without a single person noticing.

After that, it almost became a game. Whenever I felt an attack coming on, I’d judge how well I was hiding it against how well I had hid previous episodes. I’d take into account all sorts of factors, like the intensity of the attack, the situation I was in, the number of people I had around me, and how embarrassed I’d feel if I got caught. I used all of those factors to determine how well I had performed. I was Moneyballing my depression. The auditorium episode scored pretty high.

Another time, I had an attack during a visit to the orthodontist, brought on by the stresses of getting my braces tightened. I disguised it as a coughing fit. I really should’ve gotten some kind of medal for that one, so I’ll give it to myself now.

Pixabay

3

I Had No Idea How To Talk To My Friends About It

Children, in fact, do a lot of silent suffering. They can’t verbalize much of anything other than the backstories of their favorite action figures (in excruciating detail, to anyone who’ll listen). So when I was around all my friends trying to have fun, unable to escape this ominous sense of despair, I had no idea what to do or say. Even then, I could recognize the innocence of childhood, since I had experienced it in all of its glory just the day before. But then I’d look around at all my friends and wonder how to break it to them that life is nothing but a bubbling cauldron of shit.

I was never able to figure out how to tell my best friend that I didn’t feel like climbing that big spooky banyan tree at the end of the block because getting all worked up like that would draw out the emotions. “Nah, you go ahead. I’ll be down here identifying with the dead leaves on the ground.” The only way to achieve some semblance of normality was to put on a tough face and pretend I wasn’t falling apart.

This meant never declining an invite to participate in childlike fun. I’m down for a bike ride, just as long as I can linger in the rear of the pack, so I can really wallow in being the last-place loser I felt like. I was always down for a neighborhood-wide game of manhunt, since it offered solid crying-in-the-neighbor’s-bushes time. It gave me even more motivation to find a great hiding spot. You might be shocked to learn that no, these coping mechanisms did not work out in the long term.

2

Not Being Able To Talk About It Turned Me Into A Bully

Humans have a horrible tendency to deal with negative feelings by making others feel even worse. Some kids master this at an early age. At least, I did.

One afternoon on the school playground, a friend said something which, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have cared about one way or another. Since I was on a depressed quest for vengeance against no one in particular, I angrily told him that if he didn’t shut up, I was going to spit on him. I then said that all eight or nine of us standing around in a circle talking would also spit on him (none of them had actually agreed to that).

He didn’t speak for the rest of the day. He told his parents, and his towering father, who I remember thinking looked like a hippie lumberjack, pulled me aside one afternoon. Rather than scold me, he told me that what I had done to his son was “very uncool.” As a kid obsessed with trying to be cool, that was devastating. I had a sense that some adults knew more about what I was going through than I did. He was one of them.

Not that it made a difference. I got into a lot of fights. I lost most of them, and didn’t care — fighting felt good. It was a way to channel the anger while pretending I was a Power Ranger fighting another one of Rita Repulsa’s hapless bad guys (it’s important to keep picturing me as a small child through all of this). If anyone slighted me, no matter how insignificant the infraction, I would unleash every curse word I absorbed through the couple of R-rated movies I’d caught secretly on cable.

I became an expert at targeting my victims’ most closely guarded insecurities with deadly precision (cruel people get that way via practice). Once, I asked a girl in my after-school care program if my friends and I could play Connect Four when she was done with it. She told me to get lost and stuck her tongue out. My human vulnerability sensors detected that she walked with noticeable limp, so I called her a cripple. She burst into tears.

I’m certain that this period of my life landed me a permanent spot on more than a few Kill Bill-style revenge lists. I was well on my way to being an adult with multiple felonies when my mom and school faculty started to piece together what was wrong.

1

I Had No Idea I Was Going Through Therapy

After my mom spoke to the administrative staff about how I was a walking cliche of troubled youth, I started seeing the school guidance counselor a couple of times a week to just talk. People may not realize that guidance counselors have degrees in educational psychology — they’re equipped to handle kids with mental health issues. They are the unsung heroes of any school, along with the janitors who clean up vomit and the lunch ladies who must heroically summon the will to not spit in the mashed potatoes every day. That’s the Justice League that keeps a school running.

I had no idea I was going to therapy. I thought I’d won a lottery where I got to take an hour-long vacation from class a couple of times a week. I figured that if all I have to do to get out of class was rip out my heart, lay bare my soul, and reveal every dark twisted horrific thought rolling around in my childish little brain, then great! Better get a box of permission slips ready, because I’m about to miss so much class that by the time I get back, everyone’s going to be uploading textbooks into their brain chips.

Everything I didn’t know was tormenting me came to light without a hint of resistance. I wasn’t put on medication, even though antidepressants are a common treatment for childhood depression. Someone just sat me down and asked me what was wrong. This helped tremendously. It still does.

I was fortunate in that this is all it took — a chance to explore my mind with a trained professional who knew how to sweet-talk kids into spilling their guts. It instilled in me tools I still use today, and it makes one wonder how many kids need this but don’t get it.

Earlier, I said that 2 percent of prepubescent kids suffer from depression. That figure comes from this study, which also points out that it’s hard as hell to spot it. Depressed kids may only complain of physical things (like bellyaches), and may even excel in school. Some channel their low self-esteem into attempts to please everyone, rather than just becoming an an angry little shithead. Still, if you see a raging little monster on a path to becoming a terrifying adult, remember that they may be one trained professional away from turning their life around.

Luis is hiding in the bushes crying again. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Childhood is rough stuff. Remember, Disney movies will always be there for you.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-life-changes-when-you-suffer-depression-as-child/

Ulta’s Love Your Skin Sale Starts Today & Here’s What To Buy

In a time when it feels like New York may truly freeze over, taking care of our prizeworthy skin is crucial. Frigid temperatures literally destroy everything we care about by punishing us with dry af skin, ashy hands, and pasty-looking faces. With this comes the real struggle of figuring out wtf to buy, and deciding whether or not the expensive shit really works—because if it doesn’t, well, FML and fuck my bank account. Fortunately for us, Ulta is a godsend and is rewarding us with their Love Your Skin sale. I know, it sounds fucking amazing already. From now until the 27th, must-have skincare products from some of our favorite brands will be up to 50% off. Each day brings something different to the table, so start setting alarms on your phone now. Here’s all of the worthy shit to buy for this week.

Monday, January 8th

Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel

Please raise your hand if your skin was personally victimized by this weekend’s insane Bomb Cyclone. *Raises both hands* To help get rid of flaky dull skin, this gel literally rolls off dead skin (ew) to reveal brighter, hydrated, smoother-looking skin. It’s full of a bunch of fruity goodness so def it’s non-drying and non-irritating.

Tuesday, January 9th

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Agent Eye Makeup Remover

This makeup remover is honestly so good, it wipes away even the most stubborn waterproof mascaras. The bi-phase formula (see: lipid and water) not only removes all makeup, but conditions and refreshes the eye area as well—all without leaving your face feeling greasy and gross.

Wednesday, January 10th

Organic to Green Jasmine Ylang Ylang Coconut Oil For Face—Moisturizing

In case you don’t know, there isn’t much coconut oil *can’t* do. Honestly, I’m upset I waited so long to try it, but it has seriously like, improved my quality of life. It helps heal hair, skin, and anything else worth stressing over. This moisturizing coconut oil is just one of many from Organic to Green that you can find at 50% off this week. The refreshing formula is non-greasy, v gentle, and non-comedogenic, so it will help dry winter skin without making you break out. Bless.

Thursday, January 11th

Juice Beauty STEM CELLULAR Anti-Wrinkle Overnight Cream

Uh, when aren’t we stressing over corpse-looking eye bags, rude wrinkles, and any visible signs of aging? Never. This super intensive hydrating cream is designed to infuse your skin with a shit ton of necessary moisture while getting rid of any lines or wrinkles while you sleep. You’ll wake up to soft, glowing, wrinkle-free skin first thing in the morning. Better than coffee? No, but it comes close.

Friday, January 12th

Clarisonic Mia 1 Skin Cleansing System

Let’s just say there’s a reason why everyone and their mother owns one of these. This small compact cleansing system can be used both at home, or on-to-go if your face really just can’t wait. The electronic facial cleanser does a hell of a lot better job than your hands do at washing your face. It removes all makeup, exfoliates dry patches, absorbs oiliness, and reduces breakouts. You’ll honestly wonder what the hell you were doing with your life after buying one of these. You’re so welcome.


Read more: http://www.betches.com/ulta-love-your-skin-sale-best-deals

8 Ways Celebs Get Their Bodies Ready For Award Shows

Award shows are about so much more than which movies are worth seeing this year. The 75th Golden Globes were on last night, and ICYMI, almost every woman wore black to show support for the Time’s Up movement and Oprah gave the best speech in the history of award show speeches—two important talking points. While we’re totally into the all-black wardrobe choice, we’re also literally floored by how good everyone looks on the red carpet. Like, aside from their dozens of personal trainers, nutritionists, plastic surgeons, and makeup artists, these celebs go through a lot to get ready for award shows, and we did some research on what exactly goes into the process. Get your Xanax ready and take notes.

1. Toning-Specific Workouts

Most celebrities (maybe with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence) already work out all year-round, so it’s not like they start sprinting marathons and doing a bunch of SoulCycle classes before award shows. However, celebrity trainers tend to focus on toning-specific workouts before award shows to make sure their clients’ arms and legs look super toned on the red carpet. A lot of stars go to Modelfit, Pilates or Megaformer classes to tone up beforehand.

2. Personalized Diets

It’s hard to pinpoint one exact diet that celebrities go on before award shows because they all do different things. Some celebs do intermittent fasting for the month before the show, which means they eat for 8 hours a day and fast for the remainder. A lot of celebrity nutritionists like this diet because it burns fat by cycling your body’s eating patterns, but some would rather their clients just eat as clean as possible without any sugar or fried foods for the few weeks before the show. Think green smoothies and grilled chicken.

3. A Gross Amount Of Sleep

I guess if you don’t have that many responsibilities or a 9-5 job you can afford to sleep 10 hours a night, and that’s what a lot of celebrities do before an award show. Must be nice. Aside from the healthy diet and exercise routine, celeb trainers make their clients get a ton of sleep leading up to the show. I mean, it makes sense that no one would want under-eye circles to show on the dress comparison page of People Style Watch, but this seems a bit extreme. Then again, if somebody told me I needed to get the amount of sleep of a hungover 17-year-old boy for a month, I wouldn’t protest.

4. Meal Delivery Services

For celebs that are too lazy to cook their own meals before award shows, a lot of them sign up for healthy meal-delivery services that bring organic meals to their doorstep. A celeb favorite is called Sakara, and the company specializes in a plant-based diet that helps you lose weight and even improve your skin before the red carpet. A lot of people are unsure about whether these food services are actually healthy, but like, Gwyneth Paltrow is a customer, so that should clear up the skepticism.

5. A Spa Week

After all the dieting and exercising, a lot of celebrities go to the spa for up to a week before the award show. The point of this ridiculous ritual is to relax their bodies and rejuvenate before the red carpet, and they schedule treatments throughout the week to make sure they’re completely chilled out before the big night. I mean, IDK why they can’t just smoke a J in their limo and get the same effect, but whatever works.

6. Specialized Red Carpet Facials

Getting a facial isn’t a big deal, but most celebrities go to skin specialists the day before award shows to give them a specific facial that makes them look younger and makes their cheek bones look more defined on camera. Joanna Vargas and Tracie Martyn are both celeb faves, and they have specific red carpet treatments for clients. These treatments literally erase lines on your face and lift your jawbone and cheeks. Day-of appointments are reserved for nominees, obviously. 

7. Colonic Treatments

Apparently some celebs get colonics before award shows to make sure their bodies are totally cleaned out so they can look as thin and emaciated as possible on camera. Also known as colonic hydrotherapy, this treatment basically includes an infusion of water into your rectum by a colon therapist to completely cleanse your colon. It’s kind of like a colonoscopy but for no medical reason. Sounds fun.

8. No Alcohol

This one might seem obvious to some people, but we assume celebrities need to drink like, five times as much as the average person just to get through the day, so we’d imagine this is pretty tough. Most celebrity dietitians tell their clients not to drink any alcohol for a month before the show. Alcohol obviously adds on a ton of calories and can make your face look puffy the day after, which is basically a sin for the red carpet. I guess on the bright side, their tolerance is low enough to black out pretty fast at the after party.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/how-celebrities-get-red-carpet-ready

The Absolute Worst Diets For Your 2018 Body

I think we can all agree that January is bullshit, and it’s time we stop pretending otherwise. Between the insufferable “I’m coming for you 2018” Instas and my boss’s vague insistence that I should be “refreshed” from my time off (if refreshed means hungover, then sure), I’m honestly just confused with how people are meant to spend the holidays. Personally, I’ve spent the past two weeks playing “can I eat more than I did yesterday,” which means my general January sadness is compounded by the fact that sweatpants are actually all that fits me right now. Since I’ve crash-dieted enough to know certain eating plans will do nothing but leave me fatter and crankier than when I started, I’ve compiled a list of the worst diets you could start right now.

(And by right now, I obviously mean Monday.)

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

This diet, while disgusting, has the benefit of requiring very little real effort, so it’s tempting to give it a shot. The basic principle here is that you drink three glasses of an apple cider vinegar mixture daily (one before each meal), in the hopes of improving your metabolism and suppressing your appetite. Apple cider vinegar does have certain good uses—like helping with liver function or clearing your skin—but these uses are achieved by incorporating a tiny bit into your diet, not by full-on drinking watered-down vinegar three times a day. While you’re welcome to find this out on your own, I can assure you that all you’ll achieve from this diet is feeling nauseous, gassy, and maybe even damaging your stomach lining. You might lose a few pounds from legitimately feeling too sick to eat, but at that point you might as well just pick up some gas station sushi and try for the “food poisoning diet.”

2. Intermittent Fasting

Overall, I think this diet has the potential to be effective and work for some people—I just also think, if you’re anything like me, this diet is not what you want to try right now. With various options for how to portion out your fasting (you can choose certain days of the week, or 12-18 hours every day), the restrictions on when you can eat are meant to lower your overall calorie consumption (makes sense). And while I’m told that the hunger cravings do eventually die down during those fasting periods, I’ve never quite made it to the other side of that tunnel. Instead, I end up fasting for maybe 8 hours, ruining half my friendships from hanger, and sucking down an entire pizza at night (so basically, what my diet is anyway). The bad thing about trying and failing at this diet is that you get into a fasting/bingeing cycle, which is terrible for your metabolism, will likely cause stomach pain, and overall instills bad food habits. If you know yourself and you know you won’t stick to the fast, cut your losses and don’t try this. 

3. Low-Fat Diets

I find it alarming that people still do this, but there’s a lot of confusing nutrition data out there (I still can’t figure out if salmon is supposed to give you cancer or cure it), so I guess I get it. But you know what’s a low-fat food? Twizzlers. Twizzlers actively advertise themselves as a “low-fat snack,” which should give you a good sense of how healthy most food that advertises itself similarly actually is. A “low-fat” label is basically announcing that a lack of fat is the most nutritional value that food can offer—so it’ll be filled with sodium, sugar, artificial ingredients, and almost nothing that actually keeps you full/healthy/etc. I’m not telling you to dive headfirst into bacon mac n’ cheese, because fat is the best and makes you so skinny (though tbh how good does that sound), but don’t kid yourself that you’re making healthy choices if the only thing you’re looking at is fat content, and don’t expect to see any change beyond some sodium bloat and new cravings—flavor created without fat is weird and not to be trusted.

4. Not Eating Solid Food

If you’re like Lala Kent and you’re gearing up to join your “man” on his jet in two days, then sure, juice it out—but for any time window longer than that, you already know that any variation of a food-free cleanse will end in pain. What’s even more annoying than the speed with which you gain back the three pounds it took half your life force to lose is the overall self-hatred that this kind of diet instills in you. Whether you cheat halfway through, or are just eating your first regularly scheduled real meal post-cleanse, something now feels dirty and bad about the food you once loved, and no one deserves that. And with liquid diets like the Beyoncé master cleanse, you get the added bonus of essentially announcing to the world that you’ll be shitting out your holiday weight in the communal bathroom over the next five days. Everybody knows what cleanse means, and it isn’t cute. Also, you somehow end up spending even more money on weird-ass ingredients or juices than you would on food anyway (and that’s saying a lot), so there’s literally no win to be had here.

If you’re truly desperate about your holiday belly situation, the best general advice I can offer is drinking a ton of water, moving as much as you can, and practicing portion control. At the end of the day, just try to cut down how much candy you eat after 10pm on your worst eating habits, and make restrictions that don’t ruin your will to live—they’ll last longer, I promise, and you still have four months before you have to think about wearing shorts again.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/absolute-worst-diets-for-your-2018-body

‘Inspirational’ News Stories That Are Anything But

It’s impossible to spend more than a few minutes online without encountering an inspirational story meant to brighten your day. Which is nice, because it’s probably sandwiched in between a story about a church getting shot up and a story about a mall getting shot up. Maybe there’s a cool new technology, maybe an animal is being adorable. But it’s increasingly common to see a headline like “Michigan Grandfather With Cancer Takes Up Uber Driving to Pay Off Home for Family.”

“But wait,” I assume you’re objecting for the sake of this rhetorical device, “that sounds so depressing that a bottle of cheap vodka has somehow appeared before me, as though it knows it will be needed.” Ah, but if you read that very real article, you’ll discover that it’s “actually” an uplifting tale of love. This 69-year-old man, Kenneth Broskey, loved his daughter and grandchildren so much that when he was told he only had two to ten weeks left to live, he continued to drive for Uber to help pay off a mortgage that his daughter otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford.

Broskey was successful thanks to a GoFundMe started with the help of one of his passengers, who said, “His love for his family is limitless. This man is dying of cancer, and yet he’s still out there driving an Uber cab just for his family every day. That’s indescribable love.” That’s true, but what goes unmentioned in all the news on Broskey is how indescribably horrifying it is that a terminally ill senior citizen was compelled to spend his final weeks driving a fucking Uber. Maybe it would be more inspirational if the only thing standing between a couple of people getting kicked out of their home wasn’t their dying grandfather working instead of being with them (or going into hospice care, as his doctors advised him to).

According to “Dying Grandpa Refuses To Listen To Doctors, Then SHOCKS His Family When He Does THIS,” which is ironically filed under the “Life” section, Broskey did the “unthinkable.” But the writer meant it in the sense that you’d declare someone shotgunning a six-pack on spring break despite their doctor advising them not to drink “unthinkable” before high-fiving them and pouring them a shot of tequila. Meanwhile, Business Insider declared it “touching” that the GoFundMe (complete with a hashtag promoted by Uber, which is what people get instead of functioning heath insurance now) got the job done. No one talks about how fucked up the situation was, because it’s becoming so common that we no longer think of it as sad. The unspoken assumption is that this is the new normal, and we should feel inspired because we might one day have to do it ourselves.

This is part of a genre of news story that normalizes tragedy, papering over economic flaws and pathetic gaps in social services by looking up “inspiring” in the thesaurus. Here’s a “feel-good story” about the internet raising $128,000 for a homeless man … after a “YouTube prankster star” (which is the job title you have when you really want to get Satan’s attention) gave him 100 bucks under the mistaken assumption that he would spend it on liquor. (What a hilarious prank!) Here’s a man who paid off $85,000 of school and vehicle debt by living in an RV for years. He got his budget down to $400 a month by, among other things, not running his heater when temperatures hit -40. This was presented as an inspiring story of economizing that’s now given him the freedom to do whatever he wants, like travel and maybe not freeze to death. Perhaps you too can pay off your debt, assuming you have no dependents and don’t mind torpedoing your quality of life!

Behold a 15-year-old Puerto Rican raising money for solar lamps for his community while his family was still being forced to heavily ration food in the wake of Hurricane Maria, an eight-year-old using his meme fame to raise $90,000 for his father’s kidney transplant, an 11-year-old working to save for college, a 19-year-old raising her two younger siblings, a 19-year-old whose co-workers bought him a used car so he doesn’t have to walk ten miles a day while working to support his siblings and sick mom, a single mom who worked three jobs until she somehow managed to write a bestseller, and “5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt.” Their inspiring methods included not eating at a restaurant for 2.5 years, not celebrating holidays, and averaging “117 hours a week of billable time for eight months.” There was no “5 Horrible Ways Exploitative and Predatory Systems Allowed People To Each Accumulate $100,000 In Debt” companion piece.

The variables keep changing, but the stories are endless. And they’re always presented as an inspirational “If they can do it, so can you!” morality tale. It’s taken for granted that everyone has medical problems, crippling debt, or three jobs, that the situation is implicitly their own fault, and that the only way out is to either literally work yourself to death or be so goshdarn adorable that the internet masses step in to crowdsource your rescue. The continued presence of a monolithic system that can kick you in the genitals so hard that they’ll shoot out of your nostrils and then tell you that you created your own gaping groin wound is assumed, to the point where there’s no need to even mention it.

It’s great that these people were able to improve their lives, but that doesn’t make their stories inspirational. These are problems that are desperately getting fixed, and that desperation is held up to us as an example of hustle and a hard-working attitude that we should all aspire to have. It’s like congratulating someone for patching the holes in their rowboat with chewing gum while ignoring all the guns that continue to rip it apart, because we assume there’s a good reason they’re being shot at. Also, there are sharks circling. If this was a political cartoon, they’d be labelled “bankruptcy.”

Most of those boats just quietly sink. Go look at GoFundMe’s medical section, which accounts for half of all of its campaigns (the fact that so many people have to ask strangers to pay their medical bills is also somehow considered inspirational). The ones that fail don’t look as inspiring, do they? The average amount raised ($1,126) is nowhere near enough to get someone an upbeat story in the news, or to accomplish much at all in the long term. So they just vanish without ever being noticed, contributing to the illusion that the day is always saved when needed. Maybe they didn’t have enough hustle.

Now go check out “Here’s How Parents Who Work 100 Hours A Week Get Everything Done,” which includes tips for executive power couples like “Yes, you’ll likely need a lot of paid help.” Or go read literally any profile of a rich entrepreneur who works 80 hours a week but has a weakness for relaxing on their sex yacht in their spare time. The target audience is different, but the “inspirational” language is identical. Those inspiring people who paid off $100,000 in debt? Suggesting a 117-hour work week was on the same article that offered relatable, everyday advice like “Used a $40,000 inheritance to pay down debt, instead of taking a lavish vacation to Hawaii.” We’ve equated multi-millionaires working on a new app called Cream 4 U (it delivers ice cream by paradigm-hacking the ice cream truck industry) with people trying not to wind up homeless or dead. Which is how society ends up with ads like this:

Metro

We demand that people always be working, regardless of whether it’s productive or just a few more hours of futilely trying to barricade the door while the zombies break through all the windows (the zombies also represent bankruptcy). Work that goes toward a luxury vacation and work that goes toward paying off crippling medical debt are considered equally inspirational and equally necessary. If you want the vacation instead of the debt relief, you just need to get even more inspired and work even harder, you lazy debt-having cancer victim.

At the risk of copping out, it’s beyond the scope of this column to singlehandedly solve America’s complicated problem with debt and overwork which is compounded by a victim-blaming Calvinist streak. (I’ll be solving that problem in next week’s column.) But debt and medical costs are reaching dangerously unsustainable levels, while the “gig economy” (which we should instead be calling the hashtags for healthcare economy) skyrockets, and so far, our solution has mostly been to present it as a problem for go-getting individuals to solve by outworking everyone else. We’ve degraded from “Working extremely hard and making sacrifices will make you rich” to “Working extremely hard and making sacrifices will let you survive while others fall around you” and dressed it up like it’s fun and rewarding. Want to pay off your crippling student loan? Go be a “Student Loan Hero!” Are you flat fucking broke? You’ve just got to follow your “Piggy Bank Dreams.” We’re trying to fix a rotting infrastructure by slapping a fresh coat of cheery paint on it, which is only effective until the house collapses on us.

Mark is a go-getter on Twitter, and has an inspirational book.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/inspirational-news-stories-that-are-anything-but/

Trump Just Literally Banned These 7 Words

Happy Monday! The Trump administration did another bad thing. I’ll give you a second to act surprised.

Okay, great. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been given a list of forbidden words by the Trump administration, which includes “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” So, why would the plastics The Trump administration want to ban these words from 2018 budget documents? To hurt minority groups, obv. What else is new?

Banning words like “science-based” and “vulnerable” make it nearly imposs for the CDC to do their job, which is literally to protect and save the lives of those who are vulnerable. As Dana Singiser, the VP of public policy and government affairs at Planned Parenthood, put it, “You cannot fight against the Zika virus, or improve women’s and fetal health, if you are unable to use the word ‘fetus.’ You must be able to talk about science and evidence if you are to research cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola.” It’s kind of like if all of the sudden Trump said we couldn’t used the words like“hungover,” “unlimited mimosas,” and “fuckboys,” at brunch. It’s fucking ridiculous and makes the task at hand simply undoable.

The CDC is hella pissed, and rightfully so. CDC Director, Brenda Fitzgerald, said in a memo to her staff that the “CDC remains committed to our public health mission as a science-and evidence-based institution.” Ya girl just used two of the banned words in one sentence. Can I get a mic drop?

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: You can’t use these words.

CDC: Lol, no.

It looks like the CDC isn’t going down without a fight, and we are here for it.
 

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Read more: http://www.betches.com/cdc-banned-words